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Southern school band gets ban lifted, says Clarion-Ledger

Link to story: Supporters of Jackson State University’s famed marching band “The Sonic Boom of the South” can enjoy the music now that the band’s suspension is lifted.

The school’s investigation into hazing allegations worried fans that the band would not be able to perform at today’s game against Southern University, the band’s biggest rival.

The 280-member band has been placed on probation for one year, school officials said Thursday. It will be automatically suspended if any infractions occur during this period, said Velvelyn Foster, vice president of academic affairs and student life. The school also will educate band members about hazing.

The suspension came about after section leaders made band members do push-ups or crunches if they didn’t perform music parts correctly. Directors were unaware of the forced exercises.

“These incidents were not intended for hazing,” Foster said. “The section leaders were attempting to get students to perform at the high standard of excellence that is required to be in the band.”

While some fans reacted angrily to the suspension news on clarionledger.com’s StoryChat (http://forum.clarionledger.com/index.php), caution about hazing is warranted.

Hazing deaths occur on college campuses each year. Enough so that the NCAA and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) are making hazing a priority issue for their associations.

According to StopHazing.Org, most educators, coaches and advocates agree the best way to end hazing is to begin by sending a clear anti-hazing message. Then, implement a strong anti-hazing policy, communicate it clearly, and enforce it when incidents occur.

JSU officials acted appropriately in promptly investigating the alleged hazing incident and taking decisive action to ensure student safety.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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